Crossed over to French Guiana!
Loc: Awala/ Yalimapo or Les Hattes
Dist: 17,5 km
Start: 7:15 End: 11:30
I slept well, the raging high tide surf calmed down fully at night and the morning high tide was 30 cm lower anyway and with less wind way less mighty. I started at 7.15 am, about two hours after high tide, easy going out. A short hop over to French Guiana was the plan, crossing a mighty river against the outflowing tide.
It has been raining almost all night, every time it starts over again the wind breezes up, but it calms down when the rain doesn’t stop. So basically the crossing was a wet one, with little visibility, but on dead calm retracting tidal water in low wind. I stayed on the Suriname side of the beach for a long time, until I couldn’t help but aim directly towards the at some point nicely visible white low tide beach of Yalimapo. Still the horizon was black again, but my GPS told me the way. It also told me the drift out, although it was close to slack tide at noon. The last 3 km in the main stream were heavily influenced by the current and made me do quite a dog leg approach. No problem, as long as I was not stuck on one of the many sand (not mud!) banks in the river mouth!
Sure my arrival didn’t go unnoticed from the locals, four fishermen were just about to pull up their boat, and I couldn’t help but land where they also were. Just in the middle of the village. They greeted me nicely, helped me with my kayak up the wide low tide beach and told me it would be ok to camp just in the village beach park. I should walk up to Captain William’s house to announce myself and to ask for fresh water and a shower. Merci! I barely could pull out a few words of my school French to be polite, I rather mixed it up with Spanish now, fortunately one of the fishermen spoke goodEnglish.
I put up my tent besides one of the many beach park tables with a roof, actually quite a nice place! This native village at the end of French Guiane is happy some occasional tourists come to see the Leatherback turtles beaching for the night. And it is supposed to be season now! Maybe I’m going to spot some tonight or tomorrow night, but hopefully not another lovesick fat turtle is intruding and damaging my tent… I should be camped high enough tonight. I walked up to the Captain’s house, got greeted by his wife only, but treated to a shower, fresh water and some baguette and coffee. Merci, very friendly!
In a rain break in the afternoon I got out of my tent for a short walk around, and noticed the many European looking to do or rather “not to do” signs along the beach. No camping…but even a passing by police car didn’t take any notice of me and my tent. Also you should not bother the turtles and their eggs! A few local youngsters came by and fortunately Raoul from the village restaurant, shop and guest house spoke well English for a nice chat. A young French “turtle tourist” couple, maybe the only one other than me tonight, Lisa and Ismail, stopped also by, and some time passed by with nice socializing.
I have to watch my cold, see if my body will break down now fully, knowing to be in safety and civilization and not on the run anymore, or if it already is getting better. Anyway I better had to dress up outside against the wind and the ever falling rain, fortunately I am halfway dry under my picnic table roof. I will stay tomorrow for a rest day, despite the forecast improving than originally forecast. Home sweet home in my tent in the rain!